BUSHMAN’S River Mouth residents have objected that the name of their seaside village has been deemed offensive and needs to be changed.
Dr Dirk Meiring, chairman of the Bushman’s River Ratepayers Association (BRRAG), wrote to Linda Zileni from the department of sport, recreation, arts and culture after seeing an advertisement on name changes in Die Burger on February 8.
Meiring asked that BRRAG be recognised as a concerned party.
“We notice that Bushman’s River is classified under category B as a name that is seen as abusive. Since we do not know why you classified the name under this category it is difficult to comment on the unknown reasons for this classification,” he said.
According to Meiring, they have not found a perception of abusive nature about the name Bushman’s River among the communities living in the area. He said he had seen a strong reaction from Khoisan leaders against the name change in the following edition of Die Burger.
BRRAG believes the revision of place names is important but that it is also a sensitive matter and must be handled in a way that promotes cohesion and not division.
Meiring also noted they had not seen the schedule of public hearings to be held in February or March which the advert claimed had already been published. He asked that this be provided urgently.
Acting chairman of the Eastern Cape Provincial Geographic Name Committee (ECPGNC) Sicebi Noah said the name Bushman’s River Mouth was considered offensive because it was not the original name but one given by the whites aligning people with a certain environment.
Head of secretariat at ECPGNC, Kenneth Msengana said they have not yet reached the Cacadu district or liaised with Ndlambe as are still they are currently busy with OR Tambo and Chris Hani district municipalities. He said they will probably start the Ndlambe meetings in April. Their aim is to work together with municipalities to mobilise communities.
“First we will arrange a stakeholders meeting. We will explain the processes and encourage them to go back to their constituencies,” he said.
Members of the public will then be asked to submit proposals for name changes in the area which must be motivated. In the next round of meetings these proposals will be discussed until a consensus is reached. This means that proposed name changes will not necessarily take place.
“The committee will just facilitate the process,” said Msengana.
He said they were currently trying to strengthen their sub committees which are representative of all the local municipalities in a district and are made up of members of the public.